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As mentioned in this answer:

The Tarrasque's Earthbinding aura ... prevents creatures to fly beyond 4 squares above the ground

My question was, if the creature was ~30 squares in the air, and then the Tarrasque moved within 40 squares of the flying creature, would the flyer fall to 4 squares above ground? Would they hit the ground and take falling damage? From Matthew Scharley: "Are they forced to move at their normal speed straight towards the ground every turn till they meet that requirement, or is it near-instant?"

Hows does this aura work?

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I'm genuinely curious about this. I know it's just a game, and a game with magic besides, but I like there to be a little realism in things like physics too. If you are moved from 150ft to 20ft altitude at speed, why would you stop at 20ft, especially if moved by something that is hostile to you? –  Matthew Scharley Jan 25 '12 at 10:21
@MatthewScharley: That's a good question. Probably the Tarrasque (notoriously a lazy guy) wants you just in front of its mouth. –  Erik Burigo Jan 25 '12 at 10:54
@MatthewScharley If you need an explanation, picture a kind of radial band of force with increasing strength from 20 feet to 200 feet (why? So as not to interfere with the tarrasque itself). The force draws objects downwards rapidly (but not nearly as quickly as free fall), but when they pass the 20 foot mark they can arrest their decent (presumably because they've been fighting it in vain all this time). In "reality" they probably fall for the entirety of the round, dipping beneath the 20 foot mark and then ascending back up to it. 4e just simplifies things. –  AceCalhoon Jan 25 '12 at 20:44
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1 Answer

up vote 12 down vote accepted

No, it does not crash/fall.

The TarrasqueDDI's aura is:

Earthbinding aura 40; any flying creature in the aura has its fly speed reduced to 1 and maximum altitude reduced to 20 feet (putting it within the tarrasque’s reach). Any creature above this altitude at the end of its turn falls to an altitude of 20 [feet]

So, the aura imposes an altitude limit, but at the end of the flying creature's turn, the Tarrasque gravity field pulls it down in a harmless way. The aura text supersedes the effect of a lowered altitude limit (specific beats general).

Altitude limitDDI If a creature has a specified altitude limit, the creature crashes at the end of its turn if it is flying higher than that limit. See also fly speed.

If the Tarrasque moves closer to a creature flying 30 squares above ground, finds it flying speed instantly reduced to 1 (altitude limit 4), but does not move from the spot it currently occupies. When the flying creature's turn starts, its altitude is still unaffected. However, when its turn ends, the creature falls (harmlessly) to an altitude of 4 squares.

Note that without the last sentence in the Earthbinding wording, at the end of its turn the creature would have fallen (term previously known as crashed) to the ground because of its new altitude limit.

Note also that the Tarrasque is a Gargantuan creature and its space is a cube 4x4x4 squares. The aura range must be accounted from the sides of the cube, so the Earthbinding aura actually ends up affecting creatures up to 44 squares.

If you manage to move out of the aura's range before the end of your turn, then your fly speed and altitude limit return to their normal values.

The aura states that the flying creature falls to an altitude of 4 squares so it is not a forced movement (unlike a pull), however it does not provoke opportunity attacks.

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So what happens if you move out of range of the aura? Does this movement count as forced movement? –  Pureferret Jan 25 '12 at 11:14
@Pureferret not sure for other effects, but falling does not provoke opportunity attacks (neither does flying if I remember correctly...). Also falling is not a push/pull/slide so I'd imagine that it is not subject to language that deals with forced movement... –  wax eagle Jan 25 '12 at 13:03
@waxeagle. Like many other forms of movements (i.e.: walking, swimming and burrowing), flying provokes AoO unless you shift. Falling does not. –  Erik Burigo Jan 25 '12 at 13:14
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